Arkansas Tech University is one win away from a berth in the NCAA Division II Softball Tournament super regionals.
The nationally seventh-ranked Golden Suns (48-9) defeated Minnesota State University 2-0 on a walk-off home run by Kambri Hill in the bottom of the 11th inning at the Chartwells Women’s Sports Complex in Russellville on Friday afternoon.
By winning the game and improving to 2-0 in the 2016 NCAA Tournament, Arkansas Tech advanced to a 1 p.m. Saturday contest with a berth in the super regionals on the line.
The Golden Suns will face the survivor of Friday night’s elimination bracket contests at the NCAA Division II Tournament Central Regional.
Regardless of whether it is Northwest Missouri State University, Upper Iowa University or Minnesota State, that team will have to defeat Arkansas Tech twice on Saturday to eliminate the Golden Suns from the NCAA Tournament.
Should Arkansas Tech lose the 1 p.m. game on Saturday, a second game will be played starting at approximately 3:30 p.m.
Radio station KCAB 97.1 FM/980 AM and www.arkansastechsports.com will have live coverage of Saturday’s action from the Chartwells Women’s Sports Complex.
Hill’s two-run home run on Friday ended a 377-pitch marathon that saw Arkansas Tech’s Jalissa Gum and Minnesota State’s Coley Ries dominate from the pitcher’s circle.
Gum (21-2) tossed 11 shutout innings and struck out 16 hitters while limiting the Mavericks to two hits. She escaped a bases-loaded jam in the top of the sixth inning and did not allow another hit.
Ries (29-7) notched 13 strikeouts over 10-plus innings. She was charged with two runs on five hits.
Destiny Crumpley started Tech’s 11th inning-rally by drawing a lead-off walk. She was lifted for pinch runner Gaby Vasquez as Hill prepared to come to the plate.
Ries delivered two strikes to Hill before missing the strike zone with her third pitch. Hill fouled off the next two offerings before sparking the Golden Suns’ celebration with a shot over the center field fence.
It was the sixth home run of the season for the senior from Springdale.